Spotify Mix: Why the Old Spotify Font Was Dissed Out?

Last Modified: May 27th, 2024 - Category: Branding, News, UI Design
Cover image for the article "Spotify Mix replaces the olf Spotify font."

As a daily Spotify user, I’ve noticed the platform continuously making changes to their user experience. One of the latest changes is the introduction of a new typeface: Spotify Mix. This bespoke font is more than just a visual update, but it has some influence on the whole Spotify branding. In this article, I will explore the motivations behind this change, the design process, the creators, and what this means for us as users.

Article Takeaways

  1. Reason for Change: Spotify needed a more unique and versatile visual identity.
  2. Design Partner: Dinamo Typefaces collaborated with Spotify to create the new typeface.
  3. Design Features: Spotify Mix combines classic and contemporary styles with sound wave-inspired elements.
  4. User Impact: The new typeface will be used across the platform, enhancing visual consistency.
  5. Availability: Initially available for Latin-based scripts and Vietnamese, with wider integration planned.

Spotify Mix: The Whys, Whats, and Whos

As someone that uses Spotify on a daily basis and has a knack for design and branding, I’ve noticed several changes on the platform these last couple years. One of the latest changes is the introduction of a new typeface: Spotify Mix. This bespoke font replaces the previous typeface, Lineto’s Circular. In this article, I will explore the reasons behind this change, the design process, the creators, and what this means for us as users.

The Motivation Behind Spotify Mix

The new Spotify branding guidelines include a new typeface, Spotify Mix, to establish a unique visual identity. The previous typeface, Lineto’s Circular, although functional, had limitations in expressing Spotify’s brand. The new typeface aims to provide more versatility and better reflect the company’s dynamic nature.

To better explain it: Lineto was a static font, which limited its usage due to its rigid characteristics. However, new technologies now make it possible to use dynamic or variable fonts without dealing with multiple font files. This is great news for those in app and web development. Dynamic typefaces, also known as variable fonts, are designed to offer multiple variations of weight, width, and other style attributes within a single font file. This flexibility allows designers to adjust the typeface’s appearance to fit different contexts without needing separate font files for each variation. Dynamic typefaces can improve performance by reducing the number of files that need to be loaded, and they provide more creative control for designers.

For example, a single variable font can range from thin to bold, narrow to wide, and even adjust slant or other stylistic features. This adaptability makes them highly versatile for responsive design, where text needs to look good across a variety of screen sizes and resolutions.

Why Change Now?

The change to Spotify Mix comes at a time when visual consistency and adaptability are increasingly important, but also because technology now allows for it. Variable fonts have existed for years, but their use wasn’t widespread. Spotify Mix is designed to be more versatile, suitable for a wide range of applications from in-app text to marketing materials. This change ensures that Spotify’s visual identity remains consistent and adaptable across various platforms and uses.

Additionally, there is a trend among big brands to create their own typography to have a more personal brand voice. Examples of this include Microsoft, Instagram, PayPal, CNN, Airbnb, and many more.

The Design Process

Spotify branding: new logo and specifications

Collaboration with Dinamo Typefaces

Spotify partnered with Berlin-based foundry Dinamo Typefaces to create Spotify Mix. Dinamo’s expertise in music, art, and fashion, combined with their understanding of digital culture, made them the ideal partner for this project. With clients like Discord, Tumblr and Nike just to name a few, this was kind of a safe bet. Personally, I think it’s one of the best typographic foundries in the world, Top 10 for sure.

Dinamo’s approach is characterized by a deep understanding of the cultural and visual impact of typography. They focus on creating typefaces that are not only visually appealing but also functional and versatile. Their work on Spotify Mix is a testament to their ability to blend artistic vision with practical design, resulting in a typeface that meets Spotify’s diverse needs.

Inspirations and Elements

The design team drew inspiration from music itself, particularly from mashup culture, which blends different genres and styles to create something unique. This concept is reflected in Spotify Mix, a sans-serif typeface that combines features from classic and contemporary styles. The typeface subtly incorporates the shapes of sound waves, giving it a rhythmic feel that resonates with Spotify’s audio-centric identity.

Spotify Mix is a variable font, meaning it allows for adjustments in weight, width, slant, and other variables without needing separate files. This flexibility is of vital importance for a platform like Spotify, which requires a cohesive yet versatile design for various applications, from in-app text to marketing materials.

Visual Characteristics

The typeface blends smooth curves with sharp angles, creating a distinctive character that feels both modern and timeless. Elements like the negative space in the letters ‘a,’ ‘d,’ and ‘e,’ and the connection between the top and the back of the cross on the 't' evoke a rhythmic, soundwave-like feel. This unique design ensures that Spotify Mix is not just a font but a visual representation of the platform’s essence.

Image displaying the Spotify Mix Font specimen for the Bold font variant
Font specimen for the Bold font variant (exclusive for Dorve UX)

Availability and Implementation

The rollout of Spotify Mix has begun and will continue over the next few weeks. Initially, it will be available for content written in all languages with Latin-based scripts, as well as Vietnamese. This wide availability ensures that a large portion of Spotify’s global user base will experience the new typeface.

Impact on User Experience

Image of the Spotify Mix font used in marketing materials
A great difference with the old Spotify font, don’t you think?

For users, Spotify Mix promises an improved visual experience. The new font is designed to be more readable on smaller devices, which is crucial given the mobile-centric nature of today’s digital landscape. Additionally, the versatility of the typeface allows for more creative and varied applications, enhancing the overall aesthetic of the platform.

Comparing Spotify Mix to Circular

The transition from Circular to Spotify Mix marks a significant shift in Spotify’s visual identity. Circular, designed by Laurenz Brunner, was a modern and clean typeface but lacked the uniqueness that Spotify desired. Spotify Mix, on the other hand, is tailored specifically for Spotify, embodying the platform’s personality and dynamic nature.

Why Circular Was Limiting

Circular served Spotify well for many years, providing a clean and professional look. However, it was a generic typeface used by multiple brands, which limited Spotify’s ability to stand out. As Spotify continued to grow and evolve, the need for a more distinctive and flexible typeface became evident. Circular’s limitations in expressing Spotify’s brand identity led to the development of Spotify Mix.

The Impact on Spotify Branding

A typeface is more than just letters on a screen; it’s an important part of a brand’s identity. Spotify Mix allows Spotify to present itself in a way that is both unique and reflective of its core values. The typeface’s flexibility means it can be used across various mediums, from the app interface to marketing materials, creating a cohesive and recognizable brand image.

On top of this, something that is extremely obvious yet very few people noticed: A change on typeface means a change of the logo’s wordmark to the very least. a change in typeface also means a change in the logo’s wordmark at the very least. This was true for Spotify as well.

Beyond this, there was a slight, barely noticeable change in the logo symbol, with the criticized curves slightly improved. It was a minor adjustment, just a few pixels. Spotify isn’t known for making massive changes to its brand image, which has worked well for them, so there wasn’t a real reason to make significant changes. Quite frankly, I didn’t expect it.

Marketing and Event Use

One of the aspects I like most about Spotify Mix is its application in marketing campaigns and events. The typeface’s versatility makes it ideal for creating eye-catching promotional materials that stand out. At events like the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Spotify Mix can be used to create a consistent yet dynamic visual presence that captures the essence of the brand. They can mix different variables of the font to create great typographic designs. Just take a look at the image below to see all the variables they have and all the possibilities this new font provides.

Spotify branding: Image of all Spotify Mix variants
Spotify branding got enriched with nothing less but 48 font variants!

User Experience Improvements

The introduction of Spotify Mix is also a significant improvement for the user experience. A well-designed typeface enhances readability, making it easier for users to navigate the app and enjoy their content. The smooth curves and sharp angles of Spotify Mix create a visually pleasing and engaging experience, and legibility is way better, improving its accessibility for visual impaired users.

Readability on Small Devices

Given the prevalence of mobile device usage, having a typeface that is readable on small screens is essential. Spotify Mix is designed with this in mind, ensuring that text is clear and easy to read regardless of the device. This improvement is particularly important for users who rely on their smartphones for accessing Spotify on the go.

The Future of Spotify Mix

Spotify Marketing Video displaying the new typography

As Spotify Mix continues to roll out, it will be interesting to see how the typeface evolves and adapts to new challenges. The flexibility of the typeface means it can grow with the platform, accommodating new features and design changes. This adaptability ensures that Spotify Mix will remain relevant and effective in the years to come.

Potential for Further Customization

One of the possibilities for Spotify Mix is further customization. As a variable font, it can be adjusted in various ways to suit different needs. This potential for customization means that Spotify can continue to innovate and experiment with its visual identity, keeping the brand fresh and engaging. We can already see its usage in animations where the typographic design uses teh different font weights as variants to create engaging and funny presentations.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Spotify Mix represents a thoughtful move by Spotify to enhance its brand identity and overall user experience. The collaboration with Dinamo Typefaces has resulted in a typeface that is both distinctive and versatile, perfectly suited to the needs of the platform. As we continue to see Spotify Mix roll out across various aspects of the platform, it’s clear that this new typeface will play a significant role in shaping the future of Spotify’s visual identity. This change, while not groundbreaking, represents an effort to refine and improve the visual aspects of the platform.

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